Students, teachers, PTSA plans for graduation, ANGP


Photo used with permission of Cate Craig

Senior Lily Agan takes her graduation pictures at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park on April 29.

Rhea Rajeev, Business Manager

When it comes to graduation, many students have different traditions. One of the most common traditions is taking pictures with all of their best friends in front of the large “2022” sign on the baseball field, wearing their caps, gowns and cords. Another popular tradition is posing in front of one’s elementary, middle and high schools. 

With only a couple of weeks left for seniors who are departing from their classmates and teachers, they are getting ready to attend the graduation rehearsal, graduation and some, the all-night graduation party (ANGP). 

The past couple of years have been modified due to COVID-19, but the graduation ceremony has returned to normal, without any restrictions this year. The year-long planning by administrators and the senior class board ends with graduation on June 1. The whole arena is first come first serve for guests, and seniors have to arrive by 12:30 p.m. Seniors have to attend dress rehearsal prior to graduation to receive their cap and gown on May 31 at 7:30 a.m. at the gym.

“Graduation this year will look different from last year’s because we no longer have to do the ceremony outside,” senior class board member Emily Gates said. 

Last year, graduation was held at Jiffy Lube, an outdoor arena due to COVID restrictions at indoor arenas. However, due to changes in CDC guidelines and Governor Youngkin lifting the mask mandates for FCPS, this prompted the school to return to indoor graduation at Eagle Bank Arena at George Mason University.

The class board and the sponsors work together to ensure graduation runs smoothly, from details such as pronouncing names correctly to delivering speeches. There was not as much flexibility in the planning, so they decided to follow previous years and did the required years. 

“There’s not a lot of flexibility in planning the ceremony, so we just followed along to previous years and did the required things, adding our pieces mostly in the script,” Gates said.  

There are a variety of requirements that seniors must fulfill in order to receive their diplomas and attend graduation, such as paying their seniors dues and parking tickets and completing the FCPS senior survey. The funds received from paying dues and tickets are dedicated to holding the graduation ceremony to help pay for necessities such as caps and gowns. 

The county provides a small sum of funds, but the bulk of graduation costs come from the senior dues,” senior class advisor Michele Gates said. 

The all-night graduation party has been a tradition since 1987, and its goal is to ensure that students will be safe, in addition to having fun, throughout the entire night. It is held at the school on the day of graduation from 11 pm to 5 am. An array of food will be served and grand prizes will be given at the end. Tickets are $85 until May 27 and can be bought online; tickets will also be sold at the door for $100. Directions to buy the tickets online are listed on the website under the All Night Graduation Party tab.

“Some fun activities planned for the ANGP are poker night, Texas Hold ‘Em, race tracks and a hypnotist,” PTSA member Jayne Dodson said.